Excerpts from press reports.
By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, AP News, Nairobi, 29 Dec 2007.
Thousands of people waved machetes, looted shops and burned down homes on Saturday as tensions flared over the slow return of results from the closest presidential election in Kenya's history.
Partial results from Thursday's race showed millionaire opposition candidate Raila Odinga ahead, and his campaign said it was sure of a win. By Saturday afternoon, the Electoral Commission said Odinga was leading with 3.7 million votes to President Mwai Kibaki's 3.4 million with 159 of the 210 constituencies counted.
"We are confident that (Odinga) has won the election," campaign manager Mohamed Isahakia said.In Nairobi's Kibera slum, Odinga's main constituency, young men with fingers still stained with voting ink were shouting "No Raila, No Kenya!" to declare him the winner. Hamisi Noor, 22, standing in front of his burnt-out home in Kibera, said a crowd threatened him with machetes before setting his home on fire and cutting his father across the face. ...
Kenya's main opposition Orange Democratic Movement, led by Raila Odinga, lodged a complaint with the nation's electoral commission about a delay in releasing the official results of a Dec. 27 ballot, a party lawmaker said.
Odinga has garnered 4.05 million votes, compared with the 3.68 million received by President Mwai Kibaki, Nairobi-based Kenya Television Network reported, citing results it obtained from 180 of the east African nation's 210 voting constituencies. The Electoral Commission of Kenya has so far provided results from 129 constituencies.
"We wrote a letter to the ECK complaining about clear irregularities that are going on, especially in central Kenya and the Mount Kenya region," lawmaker William Ruto told reporters at a briefing in Nairobi today.
Muturi Kigano, an ECK official, told reporters that the delays in releasing results were because the number of parliamentary and municipal candidates has doubled since the 2002 poll.
By Andrew Cawthorne and George Obulutsa, Reuters, Sat 29 Dec 2007, Nairobi.
Chaos broke out at Kenya's main ballot results centre on Saturday when an opposition politician repeatedly demanded a recount in one constituency, prompting scuffles, shouting and police intervention.
Tension reached boiling point late on Saturday afternoon, as Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) results showed opposition leader Raila Odinga just ahead of President Mwai Kibaki with about a fifth of results left to come in.
Both sides have claimed victory and accusations of vote rigging have sparked ethnic violence across the country.
In Nairobi, officials' attempts to read out the results were heckled by angry party members frustrated by the slow pace of the count. At one point the process was halted when the election board chairman was driven from the stage.
James Orengo, of the Orange Democratic Movement, grabbed a microphone to stop ECK Chairman Samuel Kivuitu reading out figures disputed by the opposition. Paramilitary police then rushed in to calm tempers.
"Nobody can push me, not even you!" Kivuitu told politicians as he resumed his seat ten minutes later. "But if it is impossible for me to carry on (with) my work, I can go home." ...
Kenya's Mwai Kibaki was re-elected president of Kenya Sunday after a tight election but his opposition challenger accused him of stealing victory, prompting fears of widespread unrest.
Electoral Commission of Kenya Chairman Samuel Kivuitu said official results credited Kibaki with 4,584,721 votes to the 4,352,993 mustered by opposition challenger Raila Odinga...
The challenger's party had unilaterally declared victory on Saturday. Earlier Sunday, Odinga reiterated his call for Kibaki to concede defeat and demanded a national recount.
It was not immediately clear if Odinga would seek to mount a legal challenge against the results but Kenyan presidents are traditionally sworn in very swiftly after the announcement of the results...
The latest deaths brought to 13 the number of people who have died in election-related violence since Thursday's elections and the announcement of Kibaki's victory fueled fears of escalating unrest across the country...
By Stephen Ndegwa and Kipkirui K'Telwa, Nairobi, 30 Dec 2007, East African Standard.
The Electoral Commission of Kenya has declared President Mwai Kibaki the winner of the 2007 polls and he was immediately sworn in at State House gardens, Nairobi. He will now serve a second term in office.Kibaki garnered 4,584,721, Rail Odinga 4,352,993. "The commissioner declares Kibaki the president of Kenya", said [ECK chairman, Mr Samuel] Kivuitu and the broadcast was immediately cut off as few observers present began asking questions. Private television stations were barred from that press conference. Kivuitu had on Saturday warned that with various parties interrupting his work, he could as well announce them at KBC. Kibaki was sworn in just after 6.00pm Kenyan Time by Chief Justice Evan Gicheru in the presence of ministers, Attorney General Amos Wako and the top brass of the armed forces. ...Meanwhile, an official from the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) has come out in the open and declared that the poll body is rigging the elections in favour of President Mwai Kibaki. Mr Kipkemoi Kirui, a parliamentary official, seconded to ECK was led to the press conference addressed by ODM leaders led by presidential candidate, Mr Raila Odinga... "My conscience could not allow me to see what I was seeing and keep quiet," said Kirui adding: "I have seen form 16A delivered by returning officers... and the results announced here by the chairman are different." The officer said "blatant and shameless alteration of documents" was being done particularly by "information technology officials." He said the results for Coast and upper Eastern provinces were the most affected, and named Moyale, Laisamis, Saku and Matuga among other six constituencies. Raila said Nakuru Town, and Maragua constituencies had presented fake results. When chaos reached fever pitch, GSU armed GSU personnel stationed at KICC rushed in to escort Kivuitu out of the room.
By Peter Murigi in Nairobi, 30 Dec 2007, East African Standard
Cabinet ministers Dr Mukhisa Kituyi (Trade) and Mr Gedion Konchellah (Immigration) were lost for words to explain why some 20 ministers and key lieutenants of President Kibaki were rejected by voters.
"I don't know why so many ministers were rejected by the voters. If you ask me that question again, my answer is that I do not know why," said Kituyi when journalists asked the two ministers why their colleagues were rejected.
Kituyi said he had conceded defeat "graciously" and in the spirit of democracy...
Besides Kituyi (Kimilili) and Konchellah (Kilgoris), other top ministers who lost are Vice-President Mr Moody Awori (Funyula), Mr Musikari Kombo (Webuye) and Mr Njenga Karume (Kiambaa).
Others were Mr Kipruto Kirwa (Cherangany), Mr Paul Sang (Bureti), Mr David Mwiraria (Imenti North), Mr Raphael Tuju (Rarieda), Mr Joseph Munyao (Mbooni) and Mr Moses Akaranga (Sabatia).
The ministers said they will remain in the PNU despite the defeat...
The ministers castigated their rivals in the opposition for failure to restrain their supporters.
"We are perturbed by the violence and hooliganism when (poll) tallies are showing (President) Kibaki is surging ahead," said Kituyi.
They said the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) chairman, Mr Samuel Kivuitu was to blame over the delayed results and failing to rein in his officials who were still "sitting" on some presidential and parliamentary results yesterday.
"It is not enough for Kivuitu to complain about his officers. He should force them to speedily release the results,"
..."We know PNU is winning. But unlike ODM, we shall not declare victory. We shall not usurp the powers of the ECK," he added...
By Stephen Ndegwa in Nairobi, 30 Dec 2007, East African Standard
...ODM Presidential candidate Mr Raila Odinga called a press conference on Sunday morning demanding the ECK to conduct a national audit and recount of the votes.
Raila said the process of releasing results so far was a "fraud" and ECK had "doctored the results" in favour of incumbent presidents and Party of National Unity candidate, Mwai Kibaki...
[Note: Obviously, if Kibaki has now been sworn in, then Odinga's demand for a recount has effectively been rejected...]
Asked whether he would seek the intervention of the courts, Raila responded that Kenya's courts could not salvage the situation since they are in tight control of the Government. "We will not go to the courts controlled by President Kibaki."
ODM claimed that some constituencies cleverly withheld their results in order to "top up" in the event that they would lose. He mentioned Juja, Nithi, Maragua, Kiambaa, and Gatanga, which are Kibaki strongholds, as having presented different results to ECK other than what was announced at the tallying centres.
Raila alleged that Kibaki had initially garnered 52,000 votes in Juja, but ECK reported he got 78,000. In Nithi, ODM agents claimed Kibaki got 70,000, but totals showed he had 95,000 votes. In Maragua, Raila said the results showed a turnout of more than 100 percent.
...Raila observed that it was preposterous in Kenya to win an election from two regions. "t is not possible to win from two tribes. Kenya is a multi ethnic nation." he said...
Following the chaos that erupted in the country and at ECK KICC offices, security has been tightened.
Editorial in The Guardian Monday 31 December 2007
Halfway through the count in Kenya's presidential and parliamentary elections, the opposition leader, Raila Odinga, was so far ahead – by 700,000 votes – that analysts predicted it would take a minor miracle for the incumbent, Mwai Kibaki, to survive. Last night, that miracle duly came to pass. Mr Kibaki was declared the winner with a comfortable majority, and the pro-opposition shacks in the south of Nairobi went up in flames.
The result defies more than 50 opinion polls giving Mr Odinga the lead, the fact that more than half of Mr Kibaki's cabinet had lost their seats, and that Mr Odinga's Orange Democratic Movement had won three times as many seats as Mr Kibaki's Party of National Unity. It also defies what EU election monitors saw with their own eyes in one constituency, Molo, where the result declared in their presence was 25,000 votes short of that subsequently announced by the Election Commission of Kenya. As a result, the chief EU observer, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, pointedly refused to call the election fair and free, saying "some doubt" remained over the accuracy of the result.
There were other oddities about the count – the unnatural delay in results from Mr Kibaki's heartland, or the impossibly high turnout figures at two polling stations in Mr Kibaki's own Othaya constituency. Within minutes of the result being declared, black smoke was billowing from the Nairobi slum Kibera, and within an hour Mr Kibaki was sworn in again as president at State House. The ceremony was performed with unseemly haste, and in it Mr Kibaki promised to form a government free of corruption. This may be easier to promise than to deliver, because with only 33 seats to his party's name in the 210 member parliament it will have to be a minority government even with the help of other parties. But that is the least of Mr Kibaki's problems.
This election promised so much, not only to Kenya but to Africa as a whole. It would have been the first time that a Kenyan president would have lost through the ballot box, and the first time an incumbent would have been voted out of office. It would have been, in the best sense of the word, a revolution. Many of the old guard who had dominated politics since independence were swept out of office by a younger generation of politicians who owed their popularity to votes rather than tribal loyality or patronage. Instead. Kenya appeared last night to be stepping back several decades. Deprived of power in the way that his late father – the Luo nationalist hero Oginga Odinga – was, Raila Odinga darkly predicted a stormy future for a nation that could once again split on tribal lines.
AFP, London, 30 December 2007
Foreign Secretary David Miliband on Sunday expressed "real concerns" at "irregularities" reported in the Kenyan presidential elections.
Miliband urged leaders in Nairobi to work together to address the irregularities noted by European Union observers and others, in a joint statement with International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander.
The pair said deaths in election-related violence – in which 18 people have died since Thursday's ballot – had marred the election in the former British colony, which became independent in 1963.
"This is a pivotal moment for Kenya, a time when the democratic process and election outcome has to be seen to be fair in the eyes of the Kenyan people," they said.
"We congratulate Kenyan voters for conducting their vote in an orderly and dignified manner.
"But we have real concerns at the irregularities reported by the EU observers and others." ...
EU election observers in Kenya said Sunday that the country's electoral commission had failed to ensure the vote's credibility.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 31 December 2007, NAIROBI
Kenyan police battled thousands of opposition supporters enraged over President Mwai Kibaki's allegedly fraudulent re-election, firing tear gas and live ammunition as the death toll from the violence rose to 103, officers and witnesses said...
ABC News NAIROBI, Kenya, 31 Dec 2007
Thousands of angry Kenyans waving branches and weilding machetes battled police and marched in the streets of the capital and other cities today to protest what they claim was a rigged election giving President Mwai Kibaki a second term.
The protests threatened to erupt in wide spread tribal violence and neither side was backing down.
Kibaki's challenger, Raila Odinga, is refusing to concede the election. He stated yesterday that he would be conducting a shadow inauguration today in Uhuru park in downtown Nairobi, but canceled those plans after the government declared that it would be tantamount to a coup. Odinga announced instead that he would lead a million people in a mass, peaceful demonstration on Thursday.
The protests have not been peaceful so far and 149 people are reported dead... Most of the ethnic violence has been against the Kikuyu, a powerful tribe that Kibaki belongs to... "The last 48 hours have been some of the saddest hours in the history of this country because Kenyans have seen democracy shackled, eventually strangled and finally buried," said Odinga.
NAIROBI (Thomson Financial, 31 Dec 2007)
The US voiced concern today about 'anomalies' in Kenya's disputed presidential election, noting that some constituencies had declared bizarrely high turnout figures.
'The United States is however concerned by serious problems experienced during the vote-counting process,' said a US government statement released by its embassy in Nairobi.
'These included various anomalies with respect to unrealistically high voter turnout rates, close to 100 percent in some constituencies, discrepancies in the number of votes reported for the respective candidates, apparent manipulation of some election reporting documents, and long delays in reporting results.'...
Kibaki was hastily sworn on Sunday and appealed to the opposition to work with him in restoring stability across the east African nation, home to around 37 million people.
'It is important that the rule of law be respected. Those alleging vote tampering may pursue legal remedies and should be able, consistent with respect for freedom of speech, to make their case publicly,' Kibaki said.
Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, 31 Dec 2007 Nairobi, page 1
...It took all of about 15 minutes on Sunday, after Kenya's president was declared... for the country to explode.
"It's war," said Hudson Chate, a mechanic here, "tribal war."... As the riots spread... the government banned all live media broadcasts. Western observers said Kenya's election commission ignored unmistakable evidence of vote rigging to keep the government in power. Now, one of the most developed stable nations in Africa, which has a powerhouse economy and $1 billion/year tourism industry, has plunged into intense uncertainty, losing its sheen as an exemplary democracy and quickly descending into tribal bloodletting...
In Mathare... Luo gangs burned more than 100 homes... the only figures in downtown Nairobi, the capital which is usually choked with traffic, are helmeted soldiers hunched behind shields...
The European Union said its observers witnesed election officials in one constituency announce on election night that President Kibaki had won 50,145 votes. On Sunday... those same results were 75,261 votes.
Koki Muli, co-chairwoman of the Kenya Election Domestic Observation Forum, said she was in the room on Sunday when the EC was present with dozens of suspicious tally sheets – some missing signatures, others stamps – most from the President's stronghold in central Kenya. In some areas more people voted for president than were registered to vote. "I saw this with my own eyes," she said.
Ms. Muli said 75 of the 210 constituencies... more than one-third of the vote... had serious question marks... but [after initially saying it would] the EC refused to investigate... the commission then reconvened in front of reporters chosen by government officials and declared Kibaki the winner [by a 2% margin]... Kenya's courts are notoriously corrupt... the first batch of results showed a sweeping victory for [Odinga]... ahead by over a million votes on Friday... Ms. Muli said it was clear the government had rigged the election....
By NICK WADHAMS, Time, Nairobi 31 Dec. 2007
...Odinga supporters in his western stronghold, Kisumu, torched gas stations and more violence erupted in towns across the country. In Nairobi, walls of flame 20 feet high consumed homes in the slums... Damage was extensive. Ann Wanjiru, a woman's activist in a massive slum called Mathare, in eastern Nairobi, said: "Everything is just gone. Where most of the people live, the poorest people, it has all been destroyed."
While both sides pleaded for calm, there were fears the violence could aggravate an enduring national tribal split between Luos, who support Odinga, and Kikuyus, who back Kibaki. The two groups co-exist in an uneasy rivalry in Kenya. On Monday, crowds of Kikuyus in the west of the country were reported to be fleeing across the border to Uganda, while six Kikuyus were hacked to death in the popular tourist port city of Mombasa. Police, given orders to shoot rioters on sight, imposed a curfew... KTN, the national broadcaster, said 124 people had been killed, but other media tallies put the death toll closer to 150...
Agence France Presse 31 Dec 2007
Agence France Presse 31 Dec 2007
Despite foreign concern about the vote, expressed notably by European Union monitors, State Department spokesman Rob McInturff on Sunday had congratulated Kibaki and called on all sides in Kenya to accept the results.
Rowing back, Casey told reporters Monday that any sense that the United States was happy with the election was an "error."
"What's clear to us is that there are some real problems here and that those need to be resolved in the Kenyan system, in accordance with their constitution, in accordance with their legal system," he said.
By Mike Pflanz in Nairobi and Natalie Paris, Telegraph.co.uk, 1 Jan 2008
The disputed presidential poll which has sparked violence and claimed at least 200 lives in Kenya fell well below international standards, EU election observers have claimed...
"General elections in the Republic of Kenya have fallen short of key international and regional standards for democratic elections," it said in a statement.
"They were marred by a lack of transparency in the processing and tallying of presidential results, which raises concerns about the accuracy of the final results."
Chief EU observer Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said: "We believe it is vital that an impartial investigation into the accuracy of the presidential results is conducted, and the results from all polling stations are published to enable an independent audit to be carried out." He said some of the EU observers had been denied access to the vote tallying centre in Nairobi and others were turned away from some polling stations. The team also noted discrepancies between presidential votes given at the polling stations and those announced at the election panel in Nairobi.
...A dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed in the town of Kisumu, a stronghold of support for Mr Odinga where about 53 people have been killed.
Troops enforced this measure by shooting on sight.
By Tom Maliti, AP, Nairobi, 2 Jan. 2008
Kenya's opposition leader vowed to go ahead with a "million man" protest rally Thursday that many fear could worsen a wave of political and ethnic violence which humanitarian groups say has already killed 300 people and displaced 100,000...
Vice President Moody Awori said over a local television station that the unrest was costing the country $31 million daily...
From http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/604749 "Uganda's leading website"
IN a damning admission, the chairman of the Kenyan Electoral Commission (ECK), Samuel Kivuitu, has said he announced the presidential election results under pressure.
When asked if indeed President Mwai Kibaki won the elections, Kivuiti told journalists at his Nairobi residence on Tuesday night: "do not know whether Kibaki won the election."...
He revealed that some leaders of Kibaki's Party of National Unity had pressurised him by calling him frequently.
The alleged pressure, he continued, came in the wake of parallel pressure from a number of EU ambassadors and Maina Kiai of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights not to announce the results until complaints were addressed.
"I had thought of resigning, but thought against it because I don't want people to say I'm a coward," said Kivuitu. The embattled chairman made the revelations shortly after meeting with 22 ECK commissioners...
By Xan Rice in Nairobi, Sunday 6 January 2008, The Observer, also printed in The Guardian
...Up to 250,000 people have been driven from their homes by ethnic violence after the disputed election last week, won by President Mwai Kibaki. As with Gathoni, a vegetable hawker who lived, until last week, with Joanne and her seven-year-old, Eric, in the sprawling Kibera slum a mile away, they now have nowhere to go and no way of making a living.
'Men threw stones which cut Eric's mouth,' Gathoni, 28, said, explaining why she fled her home. 'They said that Kibaki stole the election and that they did not want to see any Kikuyus [Kibaki's ethnic group] in Kibera. They chased us away and took everything in the house."...
By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, Nairobi, 5 January 2008
Up to 100,000 people face starvation in western Kenya because of election-related tribal violence, the World Food Program warned Friday, as rivals in last week's disputed presidential vote showed no willingness to talk...
The EastAfrican, 7 Jan 2008
Last week's horrific violence in many parts of Kenya has inflicted serious damage on the tourism industry.
Most European Union countries have now introduced travel advisories, telling their citizens not to travel to Kenya unless it is absolutely essential for them to do so.
By last Wednesday, it was already clear that the advisories were having an effect, with scores of Italian tourists cancelling their visit to Kenya and Coast hotel owners warning they would be forced to lay off staff.
Then, on Thursday, most major UK tour operators suspended all holidays to Kenya following an updated travel advisory from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
The priority the travel operators said was now to get the 7,000 tourists currently on holiday in Kenya back home. In Britain, the FCO now advises all Britons against "all but essential travel" to Kenya, saying there are fears of "serious unrest" and telling tourists to "stay indoors" and if travelling about the country, to "exercise extreme caution."
Similar advisories were issued by France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal.
It had been expected that the 2007/08 tourism season would break all previous records, but this has now been thrown into doubt over safety concerns following the elections.
Around 290,000 Britons currently visit Kenya annually and over the past two years these numbers have been growing steadily. Britons make up by far the largest number of international tourists to Kenya each year and around 7,000 are currently believed to be on holiday in Kenya.
...The chairman of the Kenya Association of Tour Operators Coast branch, Mohamed Hersi said the sector depends entirely on peace and tranquility and was bracing for a possible mass cancellation of bookings.
Due to disruption of transportation of goods from upcountry, the hoteliers said they were running out of essential supplies such as potatoes and vegetables...
Todd Pitman, Associated Press, 6 January 2008, Kachibora Kenya
Armed with bows and arrows and automatic weapons, the attackers poured by the hundreds through the camp where the terrified had sought refuge Saturday, firing into the air and sparking a brief gunbattle with police before fleeing into the hills.
Hours later, after the body of a woman and her baby shot dead were carted away, aid agencies arrived to hand out emergency sacks of food to the hungry masses.
It sounds like a scene from war-ravaged Congo or Sudan, but this is Kenya, a country long known for welcoming refugees from troubled neighbors – not producing them. A week of postelection violence, however, has left at least 250,000 people homeless, shattering the East African country's image as a stable haven for those fleeing conflict.
"I can't believe it. We're refugees in our own land," said Dan Mugambi, a 35-year-old teacher who was among about 15,000 people sheltering in a primary school compound in the North Rift Valley village of Kachibora. "This has never happened here before."...
"We have nothing," said Nyandika Mogusu. "We have no water and not enough food, blankets, or firewood."...
Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times 7 January 2008.
Over the past few days, tens of thousands of Kikuyus, the tribe of Kenya's president, have fled the western part of the country because of ethnic violence...
AP News story "US commends Kenya's election of opposition figure as parliament speaker" 2008-01-16 reports "Postelection turmoil has killed more than 600 people."
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